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Alumni Newsletter 2011-2012

A New Analytical Facility in the Department of Geological Sciences







Brown University and NSF supported the creation of a state-of-the-art analytical facility to serve a large science community at Brown University and the surrounding region. The facility, under the direction of Associate Professor Alberto Saal, will count with a multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (MC-ICPMS) Neptune plus, a single-collector Quadrupole ICPMS X-Series II with Collision Cell Technology, and an Ultra-short 193 nm wavelength excimer laser ablation system Analyte G2 with a HelEx 2-volume sample cell and its unique adaptive inner cell.

This new facility represents an important advancement in the technology of inorganic mass spectrometry and the first of its kind in Rhode Island. The Neptune plus and the X-series II, when attached to the Analyte G2 laser ablation system, will combine many of the qualities of other mass spectrometer systems (TIMS, ICP-MS, SIMS). The capabilities of the Neptune plus and the X-series II instruments in terms of sensitivity, precision, accuracy are now well established. The new facility will open new areas of research and will enable Brown scientists to pursue scientific problems in Earth, Planetary and Environmental Sciences requiring concentration and isotopic analyses beyond our current capabilities. 

The new facility will have an important impact on interdisciplinary and inter-institutional collaborations in research and education. Undergraduate and graduate student education will be enhanced through students’ hands-on experience with the day-to-day operation of the machine, summer research projects, and senior theses.